In Which State Do I File for Divorce?
Gone are the days where people worked for the same company for 30 years and then retired. Nowadays, mobile workforce employees live and work in multiple locations. Therefore, when couples separate, it is not uncommon for one person to move out of state. When it comes to filing for divorce, how do you know where to file the papers?
The answer is relatively simple, the papers must be filed in a state that has jurisdiction over your case. Jurisdiction is determined by residency and each state has its own requirements for residency. If you and your spouse both meet the requirements in different states, it will likely be a question of who files first as opposed to where your case will be heard. This can have a tremendous impact on the outcome of your divorce as state laws concerning property distribution, child support, and alimony can vary widely.
States like California and Washington follow the principal of communal property, which means assets are split evenly. In states like New York that use equitable distribution, the court has more leeway in deciding who gets what assets.
New Jersey Residency
To file your papers in New Jersey, you must either have lived in New Jersey or paid income tax in New Jersey for 12 months prior to filing. You also qualify for residency if you maintain your principal home in New Jersey but are temporarily stationed elsewhere for the military or for your employer. Your address within the state does not have to remain the same to fulfill the residency requirement, but improper proof of residency is grounds for case dismissal. Some cases have even been overturned for this technicality.
Superior Courts in New Jersey
It is the Superior courts in New Jersey that have jurisdiction over divorce cases. If you decide to file for divorce in New Jersey, it should be with the Superior court in the county where you live or where your spouse lives. Your papers should state your grounds for filing with that court. Be aware your spouse could file a motion to dismiss your case if you misstate the reasons why that court has jurisdiction.
Your spouse does not have to be a New Jersey resident for you to file in a New Jersey Superior court. Even if you or your spouse move out of state after filing for divorce in New Jersey, the state will still hear your case. If you are no longer residing in the state, you may find it helpful to have a South Jersey divorce lawyer represent you for court appearances.
South Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Help Clients with Complicated Divorce Proceedings
If you are considering a divorce, be sure to consult with our experienced and compassionate South Jersey divorce lawyers at Burnham Douglass first. We provide free and confidential consultations and will answer your questions honestly so that we meet your expectations. For more information, call us at 856-751-5505 today or contact us online. From our offices in Marlton and Northfield New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including those in Burlington County, Camden County, and Atlantic County.